There are pictures of cute puppies and kittens with Santa hats on all over the Internet this time of year. Companies use them in their advertising to promote Christmas, but the sad reality is that sometimes when people get pets at Christmas it doesn’t always end well.
Last week the DSCPA reported that it had received rehome requests for 25 dogs and 20 cats and kittens.
Whether people get puppies and kittens for themselves or their child, often they don’t realise the true extent of looking after them, the cost involved and (let’s be real) the amount of poop and pee involved with pets!
5 Reasons Not To Get A Pet This Christmas
#1. It’s a Busy Time of Year
Christmas is a busy time of year. You have shopping to do, events to attend and presents to wrap. So, having a new puppy or kitten to settle into your home can often be a challenge.
It’s important that you create a routine for your pet quickly so that they get used to when they get fed, when they use the bathroom and when it’s play time. But if you are not in a normal routine yourself it can be hard to get your puppy/kitten into a routine.
If you have other pets you also need to be available to spend time getting everyone used to each other. This can take more time than you might anticipate.
#2. Lots of Visitors
Christmas see’s a lot more visitors to your home than normal. People call in to bring cards and gifts, taste a mince pie or enjoy a glass of mulled wine.
This means your door is opening and closing nonstop! So, you constantly need to be either watching your new puppy or kitten, or you need to crate them or keep them in a closed room.
People will want to hold your puppy when they are sleeping, play with your kitten when they are not in the mood and bring their children to see them.
All this is great, you want your pets to be social. But at Christmas, it can be a little overwhelming for your pets (and you!).
Also, as well as cooking dinner and entertaining relatives you will be cleaning up accidents (because puppies and kittens have accidents) and making sure your puppy/kitten hasn’t eaten, chewed or choked on anything.
#3. Creating Demand
There are thousands of cats and dogs looking for homes in the rescues every year. The majority of these tend not to be puppies or kittens.
If you are getting a puppy for Christmas, it’s likely that you are purchasing a dog that has been bred specifically for the Christmas season.
The more people buying from these breeders the more they will breed dogs, often in the most horrible conditions.
Always go to your rescue and try and re home from there and if you are set on a specific breed then make sure you go to a reputable breeder.
Puppies and kittens are small, but the cost of owning one isn’t. There are lots of things that you need to consider before you get any pet and decide if you can really afford it.
If you are adding to your pet family remember you are about to double the cost of everything.
Supplies – food, toys, treats. Often as animals get older they require more expensive food.
Vet bills – initial vaccinations, monthly treatment and other ad-hoc costs due to illness or injury
Day care – if you work all day then you will need either doggy daycare or a dog walker daily
Holiday care – your cat or dog will need to be cared for when you go on holiday.
#5. Long-Term Commitment
Cats and dogs are a long-term commitment. It’s not something you get at Christmas and if it’s not working out you can take back, get a refund and pick something else out in the January sales.
Pet ownership doesn’t work like that – cats and dogs regularly live into their late teens.
You need to think: What are your plans for your future? Are you planning to go travelling? Move countries? Take time out to study?
All these live-changing decisions will have an impact on your pets.
There is no doubt that having pets in your life is the most rewarding and enjoyable experience. But before you rush into getting a pet for Christmas please take some time to think about whether this is really the right time to do this.
Would you be better waiting until a more quiet time of the year when you can take time off work to settle them into your home and get them into a routine – without the stress of people singing Christmas Carols at your front door!